As the year ends, Justice Minister Peter MacKay is strongly hinting that steps to modernize Canada’s marijuana laws might be just around the corner.
Fining pot smokers for possession of small amounts is one policy the government will likely consider.
“That doesn’t mean decriminalizing or legalizing, but it does mean giving police options, for example, to issue fines in addition to any other sanctions, or as a substitute for other sanctions,” MacKay told QMI Agency. “These are things that we are willing to look at in the new year, but there’s been no decision taken.”
This is the first time the Conservatives have mentioned the idea since Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the feds were looking “very carefully” at it in August.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police says fining pot smokers may be just the ticket to give officers an option other than ignoring law-breakers or criminally charging them, setting up a long, expensive legal process.
The Tories may also be feeling the heat as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau remains high in the polls, even after admitting to illegally smoking pot while serving as an MP and supporting full legalization of the drug.
MacKay couldn’t resist taking a shot at Trudeau, saying the Grit pot policy is “a weak substitute for a lack of fiscal, economic or foreign policy.”
Trudeau has also questioned the wisdom of imposing mandatory minimum prison terms for various crimes, a policy the Conservatives have embraced enthusiastically since forming a government in 2006.
MacKay says the government won’t back down now.
– Read the entire article at Calgary Sun.